For the past couple years I've taken notice of Dan Milanese's Ultra Bonbon project as one of the more interesting and overlooked noise artists out there. I was happy to see France's Tanzprocesz label put something out by Ultra Bonbon as the two seemed a match made in purgatory. The very nice looking North American Family Bond cassette shows those "Europeans" a thing or two about how to raise happy, close-knit families North American-style. How does Milanese do this? With noise, silly. The title track is actually rather friendly as the tones are little smoother than the usual Bonbon outing. There are plenty of fuzzy blips squiggling and crunching around over some polyphonic, pulsing Q-chord type sound. I'm pretty sure this is guitar-less but every once in a while Danny rips out a thick, fuzzy riff that I'd have liked to see repeated. "Fog of Magog" gets shifts up into harsh mode real quick with an explosion of feedback and vocal junk. It's actually probably the moments after the crescendos that are most interesting as you can feel the residual seething angst still but the machines are caught between calm hums, swoops and twirls and on-edge, grainy feedback bogs. I like that Milanese engineered a brighter sounding set, as the normal route for any harsh tape seems to be hide in the darkness. A stepping keyboard melody starts up near the end which is continually shifted down while Danny shreds his throat.
The second side is a single track, "Gods Bubbles." I don't really know what God's bubbles are like but Danny's got plenty of his own bubbles here. I sort of imagine this as a field recording of some Wonka-esque bubble bath machine. This is Blobs (aquatic Orphan Fairytale & Dolphins into the Future collabo) for the noise set. Ultra Bonbon is always fun to listen to cause there's plenty of movement in the tracks. They never get to a point of manic freakouts but they're never slow going either. Milanese engages in a range of sounds from mild pitter patter to obnoxious oscillator bleats. But what I really love is when he whips up a melody out of nowhere as he does halfway through the side. The screamy vocals don't even bother me so much because of the killer 3-note dirge backing him up. Tones are beaten and strangled to death but the track keeps dragging it's bloody corpse along. Some excellent, complex work for sure.
This Tapehisssabysss is one of the most interesting Bonbon works. At a half hour it's about 3 times the length of the typical Bonbon release, which has a lot to do with it. Milanese has plenty o' room to comfortably stretch out his limbs and ideas. He almost takes the opposite route as North American Family Bond where that was very bright, volatile and one of the harshest releases with the Bonbon tag, Tapehisssabysss is murkier and paced more slowly. Shaped around a looped keyboard melody, Milanese plants a bed of chirps and sweeps and even a few drones. It's a placid side overall, one where you can just sit back and zone out even if he throws a spicier tone in at the end. It's maybe a bit on the repetitive side but its a nice one to chill to.
The second side is great with an awesome wobbly melody and what seriously sounds like muted trumpet. There's a variety of synth whooshes and tape mutation here. Every once in a while you get a pretty big blast of noise, as all the other elements try to hypnotize you into a vulnerable state. It's a really twisted and fantastic track. There's a wild hodgepodge of sounds here, the horns, electronics, weird tape fuckery all brewed into this mucky little stew with a delicious but still kinda funky taste. The piece seems to get crankier as it winds down, like its tired of keeping the creepy train going, before it grumbles to an abrupt halt.
A lot of people were rightfully confused last year when Ultra Bonbon dropped Paradise Vol. 1 and Paradise Vol. 3 without the supposed Paradise Vol. 2 in the middle. Well here it is, a bit late to the table. The funny thing is, this is closer to "paradise" than the others. At least in my opinion it is, as its much easier on the ears, and really what weirdo truly wants to be stranded on a desert island with only a Prurient/Wolf Eyes tape to keep him company? Anyway, "Resplendent City" is a pretty mellow listen. It still has plenty of grit and grime in its joints but there's a shiny oscillator tone leading the way with half melodies amongst little crackles. And at five minutes its just the right length. The second side's piece actually titled "Paradise" is on the weirder end of things. It's really garbled and cut up and pretty difficult to identify what it is you're actually hearing. There's some tense tones buried down a little and this actually one of the more dense, "composed"--for a lack of a better term--pieces from the Bonbon. No real crescendo just the hint of one and then it's back to the A-side. It's about the journey, man...
All three of these tapes are really showing Milanese is a man with a plan; he's definitely expanding his sound in a number of directions and judging from these he's been successful at it. I'm looking forward to the next batch he cooks up.
North American Family Bond is available from Tanzprocesz still but Paradise Vol. 2 and Tapehisssabysss are in editions of 20 and 12, respectively, so good fucking luck!